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How to crate train a puppy

How to crate train a puppy

Thinking of adding a new puppy to your family? Or has the newest addition to your household already started ‘making its mark’?  

That’s where crate training comes in handy, so here’s everything you need to know about successfully crate training your dog.

Tom Harrison
Content writer
minute read
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Posted 17 JULY 2020

What is crate training?

Crate training is the process of getting your puppy or dog to accept a crate as its ‘safe space’. Dogs are den-dwelling creatures by nature, and puppies enjoy having their own safe area to retreat to when the stresses of day-to-day life get too much.  

Ultimately though, crate training benefits you too, as it stops your dog destroying your house and everything in it. And it can work hand in hand with toilet training – teaching your new puppy not to soil inside.

How long does crate training take?

That depends on a variety of things, such as your dog’s personality, age and past experiences. Some puppies will master it in days, others may take weeks. Regardless of how fast a learner your dog is, crate training won’t happen overnight – it’s a series of small steps.

How do I crate train my dog? 

Repetition is the key to teaching your new puppy about the crate. By following and repeating these steps, you’ll have your puppy fully settled into your household in no time: 

  • Lead your puppy to the crate, making sure the door is open.  
  • Use toys or treats to encourage them inside the crate. If they refuse, don’t force them – you don’t want your dog to form negative associations. 
  • Feed them beside their crate so they start linking it with good experiences.  
  • Gradually move their food bowl inside the crate, edging it further towards the back each mealtime.  
  • Once they’re comfortable with eating inside the crate, shut the door. Open it again as soon as they’ve finished their food.  
  • Start leaving the door closed for a few minutes longer after mealtimes, gradually increasing the amount of time they’re spending inside the crate.
  • At night, keep the crate in your bedroom or a hall nearby. That way your dog won’t feel isolated and can let you know if they need to go out. 

Crating your dog when you go out

If your puppy can stay in the crate for half an hour or so without getting stressed, you can start leaving them in there when you go out. Here’s how to do it: 

  • Using toys or treats, coax them inside the crate – five to 20 minutes before you go out.  
  • Make your exit with minimal fuss, so they don’t get wound up with worry about when you’re coming back.  
  • When you come home again, don’t make it a big deal.
  • Carry on crating your dog for short sessions when you’re at home – that way they won’t link the crate with being lonely.  

A few puppy crate training considerations

The key to success with the crate is making sure your dog feels comfortable and relaxed in the space. So, when you’re shopping for a crate for your puppy, consider the following:

  • Your dog’s crate should be just big enough for them to stand up and turn around. If your dog’s still a puppy, allow room for them to grow to their full size. 
  • Keep the crate somewhere that you and your family spend a lot of time, such as the kitchen. 
  • Make sure your crate is comfortable. Line it with a blanket or something that smells of you – an old sweater or similar. 
  • If your dog is anxious or reluctant to go into the crate, put their food inside and gradually push it further back as they gain confidence.  
  • Don’t crate your puppy for too long. Dogs under the age of six months shouldn’t be left in the crate for longer than three or four hours. Their bladders can’t cope with more than that. 
  • Don’t use the crate as a punishment – this will undo all your hard work, since your dog won’t want to spend time in there. 
  • Stop crating your dog as soon as you can trust them not to chew up the furniture. After that, they should start voluntarily going to their crate.

I’ve got a new puppy, do I need pet insurance? 

Most puppies are full of vitality, but it’s still worth considering pet insurance. Vets bills can soon add up, so taking out appropriate pet insurance leaves you with one less thing to worry about.  

Pet insurance needn’t be expensive. Our data shows that 10% of Compare the Market customers were quoted £80** for a full year’s cover for their dog, while 50% of customers received a quote of £176*** for their annual premium. If you’re concerned about the price, there may be ways to reduce the cost of your pet insurance.

Shopping around is one of the easiest ways to get a great-value deal. So why not compare quotes with us today and see if you can save?

**10% of people could achieve a quote of £79.20 per year for their dog insurance based on Compare the Market data in May 2020 for all cover types.
***50% of people could achieve a quote of £175.20 per year for their dog insurance based on Compare the Market data in May 2020 for all cover types.

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